Peter Bogdanovich

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Peter Bogdanovich, March 7, 2008

Peter Bogdanovich (born July 30, 1939 in Kingston , New York ) is an American film director , screenwriter , film producer , actor, and film critic and historian . He celebrated his greatest successes as a director in the early 1970s in New Hollywood with the films The Last Performance , Is' Was, Doc? and Paper Moon .


Peter Bogdanovich was born to a couple who emigrated from Europe in May 1939. His father Bronislav Bogdanovich (1899–1970) was a Serbian Orthodox Christian and Yugoslav painter, his mother Herma (1904–1978) came from a wealthy Jewish family in Austria. Bogdanovich first appeared on stage as an actor at the age of 15 and, after graduating from high school in 1957, studied acting at the Stella Adler Theater School in New York .

Bogdanovich as a film critic

Peter Bogdanovich first made a name for himself as a film critic and biographer of several Hollywood directors from the early 1960s . During this time he curated film programs at the Museum of Modern Art and published his reviews mainly in Esquire magazine . In his writing as a film critic, Bogdanovich was particularly influenced by the French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma and the author theory coined there . The US film critic Jim Hemphill wrote of Bogdanovich that "no one has conducted a large number of significant interviews with the directors and actors who were responsible for the most creative and fruitful period in Hollywood cinema." Despite his career as a director, Bogdanovich is still active as a film historian today, he is a frequent interlocutor for film documentaries and has spoken audio commentaries on numerous DVD and Bluray releases of classic films.

He maintained a close friendship in particular with Orson Welles , who even lived in Bogdanovich's house for a time, and about whom he published the work This is Orson Welles in 1992. The book is a collection of conversations between the directors. He also conducted interviews with greats such as Howard Hawks , John Ford , Fritz Lang , George Cukor , Leo McCarey and Alfred Hitchcock . He helped the almost forgotten director Allan Dwan to rediscover him through his book The Last Pioneer . In the German-speaking countries, Bogdanovich's conversations with these and other well-known directors were published by Hoffmans in 2000 under the title Who was it that turned? .

Film career

After Bogdanovich first experience as an assistant director of the horror film -Regisseurs Roger Corman was able to gather, he turned as his debut the thriller Moving targets ( targets. 1968) with the veteran of the horror genre, Boris Karloff . The target , shot as a low-budget production , was seen as a surprise success and gave Bogdanovich the chance to make further films.

His big breakthrough came with his third feature film - The Last Performance , a melancholy drama about the extinction of a small town in Texas, received eight Oscar nominations and is considered one of the great classics of New Hollywood . The former film critic also showed in his other films that he specifically tried to revive historical genres. He did that with the screwball comedy Is' what, Doc? (1972) with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal , a homage to the film Leopards Don't Kiss by Howard Hawks . Another success was the 1973 father-daughter comedy Paper Moon (1973). These three films have hit both critics and box offices. Bogdanovich was considered one of the most sought-after directors at this time and had a strong presence in the American media, but he also stood out, as he later admitted self-critically, because of his excessive self-confidence. He turned down offers to direct the later classic films The Godfather , Chinatown and The Exorcist .

A first kink in his career became noticeable with Daisy Miller , a literary film adaptation based on Henry James , which only received mixed feedback. The performance of the leading actress Cybill Shepherd , Bogdanovich's then partner for whom he had left his wife, was criticized in particular - this fact also made negative headlines in the press. Bogdanovich then shot the musical At Long Last Love (1975) and the comedy Nickelodeon (1976), which was about the silent film era , and which also received only moderate reception. After these flops, he shot the tragic comedy Saint Jack in Singapore on a small budget in 1979 , for which critics such as Roger Ebert certified a return to the old form and which earned him a prize at the Venice Film Festival . In 1981 the comedy They All Laughed followed , which Audrey Hepburn played in her last leading role in cinema, but was overshadowed by the violent death of actress Dorothy Stratten .

His later film projects received changeable reception. The film drama The Mask with Cher , which was about how a family and their environment dealt with a seriously ill, physically deformed young person, was very successful in 1985. With Texasville , Bogdanovich shot a sequel to his classic The Last Performance in 1990 , for which he was able to win large parts of the old cast again. However, the film received mixed reviews and only took a fraction of its budget at the box office. His films The Innocence of Molly (1988) and Noises Off! Are based on the tradition of the old screwball comedies . - In contrast to Is' what, Doc? just a mixed response. The Thing Called Love (1993) showed River Phoenix, who died shortly after filming, in one of the leading roles as a young musician, but failed at the box office at the time. For his 2001 staged The Cat's Meow , which thematizes the mysterious death of the silent film producer Thomas Harper Ince in 1924, Bogdanovich again received much critical praise. From the 1990s, Bogdanovich filmed a series of television films , including the in Noir-style twisted NY - Streets of Death and the biopic The Mystery of Natalie Wood on the life of Natalie Wood . The documentary Runnin 'Down a Dream about Tom Petty earned him a Grammy Award . His last feature film so far was the star-studded screwball comedy Broadway Therapy in 2014. In 2018 he released the documentary The Great Buster about the life of Buster Keaton , who, like Bogdanovich, went through many ups and downs in Hollywood.

Since Bogdanovich had to file for personal bankruptcy in 1985 and again in 1997, he has appeared more frequently as an actor for other directors in front of the camera since the late 1990s. In the US television series Die Sopranos , he was in 15 episodes between 2000 and 2007 in a recurring supporting role as psychiatrist Dr. Elliott Kupferberg can be seen, he also directed an episode of the gangster series. He took on cameos in his own films as well as in productions by other directors, so he more or less played himself in the horror film Es Kapitel 2 (2019).

Private life

Peter Bogdanovich next to a painting by his father at the Sedona International Film Festival 2012

From 1962 to 1971 Bogdanovich was married to Polly Platt , who worked with him as a production designer . The marriage resulted in two daughters, Antonia and Alexandra. Platt is credited with having played an important role in the success of Bogdanovich's first films.

1980 fell Bogdanovich during the shooting of his film They All laughed at the Playboy - Playmate Dorothy Stratten , who had separated just by her husband, the pimps and promoter Paul Snider and even before the film was released, Snider was killed. In 1988 Bogdanovich married Dorothy's younger sister, Louise Stratten . They separated in 2001, but they still live in an apartment together.

Filmography (selection)

Behind the camera

As an actor (selection)

Fonts (selection)

  • John Ford . London 1967.
  • Fritz Lang in America. London 1968.
  • Allan Dwan . The last pioneer. London 1971.
  • Pieces of Time. Peter Bogdanovich on the Movies. New York 1973.
  • Picture shows. Peter Bogdanovich on the Movies. London 1975.
  • The Killing of the Unicorn. Dorothy Stratten (1960-1980). New York 1984.
  • Pieces of Time. Peter Bogdanovich on the Movies, 1961–1985. New York 1985.
  • with Orson Welles : This is Orson Welles. New York 1992 ( Orson Welles speaks here. 1994, ISBN 3-88679-228-5 ).
  • Peter Bogdanovich's Movie of the Week. 52 Classic Forms for One Full Year. New York 1999.
  • Who turned it? Conversations with Robert Aldrich ... Haffmans, Zurich 2000 ISBN 3-251-00463-8


The last performance


  • Andrew Yule: Picture Shows. The Life and Films of Peter Bogdanovich. Limelight Editions, New York 1992, ISBN 0-87910-153-9 .
  • Thomas J. Harris: Bogdanovich's Picture Shows. Scarecrow Press, Metuchen 1990, ISBN 0-8108-2365-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Biography. Retrieved October 6, 2019 (American English).
  2. Peter Biskind: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls . Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016, ISBN 978-1-4088-8215-3 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  3. Jim Hemphill: Playing All the Parts: Peter Bogdanovich on “She's Funny That Way” | Interviews | Roger Ebert. August 17, 2015, accessed October 6, 2019 .
  4. Todd Decker: The "Most Distinctive and Biggest Benefit that Broadway Has Ever Known" . In: Rethinking American Music . University of Illinois Press, 2019, ISBN 978-0-252-04232-4 , pp. 221-246 , doi : 10.5622 / illinois / 9780252042324.003.0011 .
  5. Peter Bogdanovich recalls frequent houseguest Orson Welles. In: Wellesnet | Orson Welles Web Resource. January 10, 2014, accessed September 6, 2019 (American English).
  6. ^ The rise and fall of Peter Bogdanovich. June 14, 2020, accessed July 13, 2020 (American English).
  7. ^ The rise and fall of Peter Bogdanovich. June 14, 2020, accessed July 13, 2020 (American English).
  8. ^ Roger Ebert: Roger Ebert's Four Star Reviews - 1967-2007 . Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7407-7179-8 ( [accessed July 13, 2020]).
  9. ^ The rise and fall of Peter Bogdanovich. June 14, 2020, accessed July 13, 2020 (American English).
  10. Rex Weiner, Rex Weiner: Bogdanovich's new prod'n: bankruptcy. In: Variety. June 9, 1997, accessed October 6, 2019 .
  11. Ryan Gilbey: Polly Platt obituary. In: The Guardian . August 7, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  12. ^ The rise and fall of Peter Bogdanovich. June 14, 2020, accessed July 13, 2020 (American English).
  13. ^ Andrew Goldman: Peter Bogdanovich on His Masterpieces, Womanizing, and Deaths He Didn't Mourn. March 4, 2019, accessed July 13, 2020 (American English).